For some, gluten free is a fad diet, and they dabble in it in the hopes that it might improve health or solve some mysterious physical issue. For others, gluten free is a necessary way of life. It can be difficult to follow a truly gluten free diet, but for those with celiac disease, there’s simply no choice. Unfortunately, the huge range of foods in which gluten is found may make new sufferers give up on ever enjoying food again. The truth is, however, that while most of the foods you’re used to may contain gluten, there is a wide range of healthy, delicious foods ready to fill the gap left by crackers, breads, and pastries.
To replace the old standby of peanut butter and crackers, for example, cut an apple into thin slices and smear a bit of almond butter on each slice. Alternatively, you can add thin slices of low-fat sharp cheddar or some other sharp cheese.
Nut butters go great with celery, as does cream cheese or pimento cheese made with low fat mayonnaise. Cut celery into four inch lengths and then smear in a generous portion of spread. To clean it up a bit, slide a knife down the stalk lengthwise to remove excess and leave the celery rib lined with tasty filling. Peanut butter is an option, but be sure you verify it is gluten free, as, while it technically doesn’t contain any, it can be processed in areas where gluten can contaminate it. The extra sensitive can’t be too careful. Nut butters are also a little high in fat, but remember that in moderation they’re permissible.
For a hot day, try frozen fruit. Not all fruit freezes well, but grapes do wonderfully. Some have described frozen grapes as little sorbet nibbles, and the best part is that every bit of it is natural. Frozen bananas are another option. Because bananas take on an unpleasant brown color soon after peeling– including when frozen– try slicing one up and dipping it in dark chocolate. To make it extra special, coat the chocolate in crumbled or chopped nuts, then freeze the batch.
Dried fruit is better than candy. It’s sweet, easy to eat on the go, and healthy. That’s it fruit bars come in several different fruit flavors to satisfy any gluten-free sweet tooth!
Raw nuts are often given a bad rap, but new studies suggest people who eat a small portion of nuts every day have healthier hearts. The key is moderation. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios– they’re all delicious ways to satisfy a hunger. What’s more, eating them raw couldn’t get more naturally gluten free.
The key to a gluten free diet is not trying to replace those favorite foods you can no longer have with pale imitations, but discovering new foods that will make you forget those dangerous cookies and cakes. These snacks and their variations can provide a delicious and novel treat every day of the week, whether it’s sweet or savory food that you’re craving.